ST. PAUL — Justice and safety regarding abortion are the focus of two initiatives introduced today in the Minnesota House of Representatives (Senate companion bills are expected next week). A bill to ban taxpayer funded abortions and another to license abortion facilities have the strong support of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL), the state's oldest and largest pro-life organization.
H.F. 607, authored by Rep. Tama Theis, R-St. Cloud, would ban taxpayer funded abortions in the state. Because of the Minnesota Supreme Court's 1995 Doe v. Gomez decision, taxpayers are forced to fund elective abortions performed on low-income women. Most Minnesotans are opposed to taxpayer funded abortions, including many who support legal abortion.
"Killing unborn babies and requiring Minnesota citizens to pay for it are both grave injustices that must be corrected," said MCCL Legislative Associate Andrea Rau.
Taxpayer funded abortions have swelled to 34.8 percent of all abortions performed in the state, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. In 2012, taxpayers paid more than $822,000 for 3,571 abortions. Since the Doe v. Gomez decision, the state has paid $20 million to the abortion industry for more than 65,000 abortions.
"Taxpayer funded abortions offer a guaranteed revenue stream for abortionists, who market 'free abortions' to vulnerable women," Rau added. "The bill introduced today would end this exploitation of women."
H.F. 606, authored by Rep. Debra Kiel, R-Crookston, would require facilities that perform 10 or more abortions per month to be licensed. The legislation would apply existing licensing requirements for outpatient surgical centers to surgical abortion facilities, ending their special exemption. The bill also authorizes the state commissioner of health to perform inspections of abortion facilities, with no prior notice required.
"This common-sense legislation is important to ensure the safety of women," said Rau. "There is no reason for abortion facilities to be granted special exclusion from licensing that governs other outpatient surgical centers across the state."
The requirement would apply to the state's five surgical abortion facilities, which together perform nearly 99 percent of all abortions in Minnesota. In 2013, a total of 9,903 abortions were performed in the state.